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Centre blocks anti-conversion Bill;BJP protests
Published on 19 Jun. 2009 12:16 AM IST
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The central government is going to block the anti-conversion Bills that have been introduced by various BJP governments but the response is not uniform. Home Minister P Chidambaram has decided to take a firm stand on the controversial anti-religious conversion Bill blocking Presidential assent. But the response is different for various state governments. So, in Rajasthan where the Congress is in power the Centre has asked the Ashok Gehlot government whether it plans to drop the Bill passed by the earlier BJP government. In Madhya Pradesh where a BJP government is still in place, the Centre has decided to withhold assent. Rajasthan: Left it to Congress government to drop Bill Madhya Pradesh: Rejected BJP government’s Bill Broadly the Bills provisions banned conversion by force or fraud or inducement and made it punishable. But all this, the Centre says violate the freedom of religion as laid down in the constitution. “When I was CM in those 10 years there was no case for forcible conversion,” said Digvijay Singh, former Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh. “This is unacceptable and goes against Supreme Court judgements,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Leader, BJP. The BJP-led states had proposed laws in response to the increase in conversions by Christian missionaries. But ironically they weren’t the only ones, the Congress had passed a similar law in Himachal Pradesh and Orissa too has one which was passed in 1967. On the other hand, the Anti Conversion law had not addressed the issue of forced or fraudulent ‘reconversion’ of hundreds of OBCs and tribals from Christianity to Hinduism by the VHP and RSS.

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